Why should a 175-year-old university founded on the Mercy education principles pioneered in 19thcentury Dublin look to PRINCE2® and ITIL® certifications for its students?
Mark S. Rosenbaum, Dean of Graham School of Management at Saint Xavier University in Chicago, USA and Paul Bujak, Adjunct Professor, explain their relevance to business students today:
Mark S. Rosenbaum:
As Dean of Graham School of Management, I believe in engagement with real companies that leads to innovation in classroom teaching, which impacts our learners’ lives.
Offering ITIL and PRINCE2 as part of our MBA management classes ensures GSM students are developing IT service management and project management skills that are in demand. They also give us a clear value proposition in a competitive marketplace.
Bringing professional certifications into the curriculum guarantees continuous innovation and helps learners gain meaningful employment.
Catherine McCauley, who founded the Sisters of Mercy in Dublin, sought to educate poor and destitute women, by teaching them practical skills, such as cooking and sewing. 175 years later – in the spirit of Mercy education – we’re teaching our students PRINCE2 and ITIL; practical skills that lead to meaningful employment.
Blending technical and human skills
The foundation of any business education must be human skills based on an ability to lead, have values and ethics, and communicate a vision. These go hand-in-hand with technical skills.
My goal is to ensure students engage in life-long learning because certain skills have an expiration date. Technology is changing so quickly that students that don’t engage in life-long learning will find themselves at a major disadvantage.
Often, when students graduate, they don’t know what they’re looking for. However, by obtaining professional certifications in skills that are in demand – such as PRINCE2 and ITIL – learners have a clear career direction.
When I was studying management at St Xavier there was a lot of excitement with companies growing like Facebook, Google, Amazon and the rebirth of Apple.
Fast forward to now and the fundamental changes in our economy have been tremendous, with the speed and adoption of technologies and many of those companies becoming powerhouses.
However, back then, a lot of management education was very traditional. I graduated twice in a recession and wish I’d had certain certifications – for example, PRINCE2 and PMP for project management. Instead, I had to do my own digging about why organizations required these certifications.
Where previously it was enough to get a degree, certifications are now very important as companies want to adopt new technologies faster. So, embedding certification in our academic programme gives students the ability to be ready for the job market.
Combining best practices
Why are we embedding ITIL and PRINCE2 in our curriculum?
Both are flexible enough to tailor to your organization alongside other methodologies you might be using.
For example, ITIL combines service strategy and business strategy to create an IT structure around all departments in a business. PRINCE2 has rigour in the method but a lot of flexibility depending on the project and organization type.
Employability in the modern US workplace
Students gaining greater employability through certification and universal standards of knowledge is something organizations can take and build on. By teaching students to be multi-mode, their chances of employability go up.
Also, we have a lot of older students already with experience, so certifications magnify their abilities and make them even more marketable.
The future of business/technology education is short, medium and long-term learning which is continuous throughout a career: students will need to learn several things and follow various career tracks at once as they’ll be working in hybrid jobs – for example combining supply chain, IT and finance too.